Former British ambassador Charles Crawford puts forward a harsh analysis:
Migrants and Borders
Remember my piece at DIPLOMAT late last year?
Once a state effectively loses control of some parts of its territory to local violent extremists, how long does it take for the mass of citizens to start to challenge state authority, if only because they fear for the results if the state can no longer guarantee equal rights and responsibilities for all within its borders?
The usual answer is to say that that can happen in a country like Syria that has been destroyed by civil war, but it can’t happen in Europe. Why exactly can’t it happen in today’s Europe, if enough serious things start to go wrong simultaneously and liberal democracy lacks the tools and toughness to protect itself?
The basic drama we in Europe and North America now face is that hundreds of millions of poor people in Africa, Asia and the Middle East who previously have had few ways to express themselves in any organised way now have a voice, and can move around and create intricate support networks thanks to cheap information technology…
This is looking horribly prescient as thousands of people attempt to get into ‘Europe’ either as ‘migrants’ or ‘asylum-seekers’ or ‘refugees’. Fences are going up, and the EU Schengen space is fraying.
What’s the solution? What’s the actual problem?
The deep problem is that across the Middle East we are seeing the accumulated consequences of decades of Arab-style repressive national socialism. Decaying states, poverty, corruption, stupid extremisms and revolutionary violence [see: “The, Hopeless, Arab Mess“]. There is a civil war going on between different Muslim tendencies, with Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and others more or less openly funding their current favourites while looking the other way when it comes to accepting fellow Muslim refugees fleeing the disaster they have helped create…
On LBC radio this morning [Sept. 15] I had a couple of minutes to expound on all this. I was asked what I thought about the idea that the EU could absorb one million migrants a year. I replied to the effect that whether or not that was the case (and it might be), that did not help if ten million migrants showed up. A state or wider system unable to maintain some sort of rules at its borders would collapse…
In short, a horrible mess with no obvious way to stop it, other than Europe effectively reconquering large swathes of the Arab world and force-feeding intelligent reform and modernity [see below]?
Failing that? The EU as currently constituted will fail in its current terms and turn into a sullen, mutually suspicious grouping of ‘nation states’. Nationalism if not explicit national socialism 2.0 will come back into fashion, as is happening in Russia.
Moral? It is just not possible to maintain open internal borders across a bloc of countries as the EU has tried to deliver but no effective immigration controls…
As for “reconquering”, I wrote this in February:
What to Do About the Bloody Middle East?
Poor bloody locals. If the West is truly willing to sort things out right now, are we then willing to rule–one way or another–for some decades or so to try to ensure things work out wellish? Triple double HAH! Given no willingness for, or today in the West intellectual acceptance of, such a prospect, then let us just face things honestly:
After all we remain none too disturbed to let millions of black Africans die in, or as the consequence of, armed conflict.
Earlier posts based on Mr Crawford are here.